Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Adventures on the West Coast

There's no place like home. No truer words were ever spoken.

I'm home after an awesome week in California. The best part? It didn't seem to fly by like most of my vacations. It felt like it hit just the right note.
(Don't you just love it when that happens?)
We were busy, yet relaxed. We did a lot of fun stuff but also found time to just chill.

It all began with a nice, uneventful flight to the west coast. We actually arrived an hour ahead of time (totally unheard of but a nice surprise nonetheless!). My sister-in-law met us at the airport. She drove us to my brother's firehouse at the airport where we had lunch with the firemen and received the grand tour of the place. Such a cool perspective of the airport.

This was my first visit to my brother's new home. He went from gated big city living to a small tight-knit community centered on the horseperson's way of life. My brother and his wife have 2 horses; I got to ride one of them around the neighborhood. So fun! I was a little leery at first. Haven't been on a horse in years and with my back issues I wasn't sure if I should attempt it. But, heck I went for it. And I'm glad I did. Course, the horse gave me a bit of a hard time; he didn't know me and wanted to test me. I think he got the message I wasn't going to fall for it. My sister-in-law later told me she was proud of me and how I handled the horse. Was kinda proud of myself!

Enjoyed touring their new town and eating and drinking at some of the local hotspots. What I really thought was cool was that the locals would ride their horses and tie them up right outside the stores and restaurants. (You can even ride up and through the restaurant drive-thrus!) The sidewalks were made for horses. No pavement there, it was hard packed dirt.

One night we went to a local casino night fundraiser where I got to see some of the locals dressed in their best cowpoke finery. I'm not a gambler and I have no idea how to play any casino games. But I got pulled into a game of craps where I had no idea what I was doing, but let me tell you I can throw a mean pair of dice! (At least that's what the other gamblers told me!)

My brother asked if there was anything I wanted to do and I mentioned a few things. But the one thing I really wanted, and had never gotten to do on  my previous visits, was go to the Getty Museum. So off we went to L.A. It was fantastic! Amazing! Really would love to spend more time to see everything. So many buildings filled with awe inspiring art, not to mention living art in the form of the beautiful gardens.

The only fee to visit The Getty is for parking. The tram up the hill to the museum and the museum itself are free! The views from atop the hill are breathtaking. 360° of Los Angeles! We picked up specially designed iPods and headphones at the front desk which provided lots of supplemental info for all the artifacts as we moved from room to room and building to building.

After the museum, we headed to Venice Beach. Now THIS is the place to go if you want to do some serious people watching! Everything from street performers to skateboarders. We ate at The Sidewalk Café which was full of the loud hungry beach crowd.
And then I had to...just had to...was compelled into the cold Pacific Ocean! Ahhh, refreshing! The next day we hauled ourselves and a picnic lunch down to Laguna Beach. I cranked up the tunes, kicked back in my beach chair with a drink and my kindle. How do I spell happiness...sunshine, warmth and R-e-l-a-x-a-t-i-o-n !!!
When the sun started sinking low in the sky we called it a day. Went to the Beach House for a delicious dinner and a view of a beautiful sunset over the Pacific.

The rest of our week we did some shopping, went to see a movie "Oz" (see my upcoming review/post), visited with my sister-in-law's family, went to karaoke night at a local hotspot, The WaterWheel Saloon, and got to spend time with my all-growed up nephew (who I never get to see enough of).

What a trip! It had it all. Great people, good times, and picture perfect weather. Can't wait to go back again. Hope it isn't another 7 years before I get back out there. That was way too long. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for some good airfare and head west again.

Thanks bro! Thanks sis!


  1. Sounds like soo much fun and relaxing sis! Makes me want to go back again soon! Don't ya just love their laid back country living?? :)

    1. It sure was a lovely place to visit! Bet they would luv to have you and hubby visit again.

  2. And I want to read your review of "Oz". I really want to see it!

  3. Hi Kathleen! That sounds like a whole great day for you. I have been in the Getty and I was amazed by the fantastic art and amazing craft work there. It is an experience I will forever hold in my heart.

    1. That's how I feel too! So memorable. I can not wait to go back!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I want to learn how to play Craps. It looks so sophisticated and complex. I love the Getty museum also and we walked the Venice sands after too. Didn't you love the houses that front the beach? Sounds like a great trip.

    1. I still don't know how Craps works. I had someone telling me where to put my chips, and then just kept rolling the dice. It was fun!
      Same itinerary? Cool! Getty & Venice. Can't beat it! I love everything about the area, took lots of pix of the houses, people, the beach, the sunset, etc. Couldn't stop myself.
      Thanks for stopping by!


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